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Philippines mulls tourists for Thitu, bolstering S. China Sea claims

Jul 23 2019

Philippines mulls tourists for Thitu, bolstering S. China Sea claimsThe Philippines is considering inviting tourists to its biggest and most strategically important outpost in the South China Sea, part of efforts to assert its claim to sovereignty over some of the world's most contested islands. Thitu island in the Spratly archipelago is in the midst of major upgrades to its dilapidated facilities, playing catch-up with China and Vietnam, which have been developing facilities on islands they either occupy or have built from scratch on top of submerged reefs. "We are on track in rebuilding or repairing our runway in Pagasa," said Philippine Defence Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, referring to Thitu, some 280 nautical miles off the Philippine coast.

Stephen Colbert Goes Easy on Anti-Science Presidential Candidate Marianne Williamson

Jul 23 2019

Stephen Colbert Goes Easy on Anti-Science Presidential Candidate Marianne WilliamsonScott Kowalchyk/CBSOn Monday night, comedian Stephen Colbert welcomed Marianne Williamson, the “spiritual guru” turned 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, to his late-night program. After reading off her list of accomplishments, which includes activism work and a series of bestselling self-help books, Colbert asked Williamson what sets her apart from the rest of the packed Dem field. “I want to be an agent of change,” offered Williamson, who was there to promote her new book, A Politics of Love. “Now, love is not always associated with the presidency… would you be able to order other people to go kill our enemies?” asked Colbert—a question that seemed mildly sexist when posed to a woman candidate. “Absolutely,” Williamson replied. “I think that when you take an oath of office of the president of the United States, part of that oath means that you are commander-in-chief, absolutely. But if you’re going to talk about peace, you can’t just back up into peace.” Then, well, Colbert served up a few softball questions, asking her “what it’s like to be up on the stage with those nine other people” and whether she feels “marginalized” (Williamson blamed the “political media-industrial complex” for why she’s considered a left-field candidate).  The host then compared her to President Trump, saying, “We have someone who is a businessman with no political experience in office now. That makes someone who is from what we would think of as kind of the normative political track that we’ve seen in American history very appealing. That might be one of the reasons why Joe Biden is so appealing.” “This might be the case where what you would consider the ‘safe’ choice is the most dangerous thing we could possibly do,” said Williamson. “The president’s problem is not that he lacked political experience, it’s that he lacked ethics—and he seems to lack a visceral taste for democracy. I don’t like this idea, you said I lack political experience?Hollywood’s Embarrassing Embrace of Marianne Williamson for President“There’s this almost Wizard of Oz idea that—this idea of this political class and something’s going on behind the curtain and they know what to do in the ways that the rest of us don’t. I think when we think of political qualifications today, we should expand our sense of what those qualifications are,” she continued. “A political qualification today should include political vision; it should include moral certitude; it should include the capacity to move groups of people—large groups of people—toward a common goal, a common vision, a common democracy, a love for our world and a love for our planet.” (It’s rather unclear what Williamson’s “political vision” is.) She added, “A lot of experienced politicians led us into Iraq. And anybody who says that I’m an amateur at what they do? I’m sorry, Stephen, they’re an amateur at what I can do.” “Nicely said,” Colbert responded. All in all, it was a disappointing performance from Colbert, who failed to challenge Williamson on any of her controversial anti-science views—from her anti-vaxx stance (she’s referred to vaccine mandates as “Orwellian” and “draconian” and compared vaccines to “the abortion debate”), to how she’s questioned the validity of depression, to how she believes obesity can apparently be triumphed over by “surrendering your weight to God.” Or, you know, this gem:  And of course, Hollywood is on board. Colbert, on the other hand, should know better. SNL’s Kate McKinnon Debuts Spot-On Marianne Williamson ImpressionRead more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

Trump administration pursues rule that would remove 3.1 million people from food stamps

Jul 23 2019

Trump administration pursues rule that would remove 3.1 million people from food stampsThe Trump administration on Tuesday will propose a rule to tighten food stamp restrictions that would cut about 3.1 million people from the program, U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) officials said. Currently, 43 U.S. states allow residents to automatically become eligible for food stamps through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, known as SNAP, if they receive benefits from another federal program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF, according to the USDA.

Trial to open for Philippine journalist critical of Duterte

Jul 23 2019

Trial to open for Philippine journalist critical of DuterteRessa, who leads online outlet Rappler and was named a Time Magazine "Person of the Year" in 2018 for her journalism, is out on bail and faces years in prison if convicted. Prominent rights lawyer Amal Clooney, who joined Ressa's legal team this month, said the case echoed a recurring theme in her work, where "journalists who expose abuses face arrest while those who commit the abuses do so with impunity".

Body found behind cooler at Iowa supermarket was employee who went missing 10 years ago

Jul 23 2019

Body found behind cooler at Iowa supermarket was employee who went missing 10 years agoAuthorities on Monday said they have identified the man as Larry Ely Murillo-Moncada who was reported missing in November of 2009.